Valencia-based supplement manufacturer Lief Labs has launched its Lief University Mechanical Foundations training program with Santa Clarita’s College of the Canyons, marking an effort by the company to train local talent for positions at Lief and eventually other local companies.
The move comes as a solution at a time when the talent pool at all levels, from blue-collar workers to middle management and executives, has become strained, according to Lief Chief Executive Adel Villalobos.
“People are required to have much more technical skills at all levels, much more computing skills and much more adapting skills in order to handle changing technologies and environments,” Villalobos told the Business Journal in a previous interview, adding that Covid-19 accelerated the need for technical aptitude.
The initiative was built with help from College of the Canyons leaders who identified instructors and built the curriculum, which will walk employee students through functions that will provide them with skills and knowledge needed for careers and advancement at Lief.
The initial Lief University session will last 14 weeks at Lief’s Avenue Paine headquarters, where participants will receive instruction in basic electrical, hydraulics, tooling, print reading and other areas. Instruction on these subjects will set up participants for positions including leads, mechanics and operators.
“Lief University and the development of an educational program that invests in our people to provide them with increased skill sets to support them in their professional and personal journeys has been a dream of mine for some time and I am humbled to see this vision now become a reality,” Villalobos said. “I’m extremely grateful to Chancellor (Dianne) Van Hook and College of the Canyons for their tremendous support in helping us bring this vision to life.”
Lief is planning to expand the university initiative in the future to a larger training center at another of the company’s facilities to offer courses to the community and students outside of Lief’s employee base.
“I also look forward to expanding Lief University in the future to … help build a stronger skilled workforce, not only at our company, but for the broader Santa Clarita Valley region,” Villalobos said. “As a member of the Los Angeles CEO Council, it is also a commitment of mine to ensure our California workforce remains competitive and we create the right environment for businesses and communities to thrive.”
Lief’s employee students were welcomed to the first day of classes at an event at the company’s Valencia headquarters on June 6. The formal program speakers included Villalobos, Van Hook and Bardia Eslami, vice president of engineering and technology at Lief.
The college covers a 367-square-mile service area and served 33,481 students in Valencia and Canyon Country during the 2019/2020 academic year, according to the school’s website.
“By creating on-site training classes customized to companies’ specific needs, (College of the Canyons) offers firms a competitive advantage in staying at the leading edge of their industries. As well, the instruction employees receive creates a pathway to other career-building learning opportunities at College of the Canyons,” Van Hook said, adding that the college will see how it can further grow the program.